“I like her very much,” said Georgiana; “but I confess it mystifies me to see you all so excited about her. It must be some attraction possessed by her—what, I cannot say. I like her, certainly.”
“Figlia mia! she is an element—she is fire!” said Marini. “My sought, when our Mertyr brought her, was, it is Italy he sees in her face—her voice—name—anysing! And a day passed, and I could not lose her for my own sake, and felt a somesing, too! She is half man.”
“A singular reason for an attraction.” Georgiana smiled.
“She is not,” Marini put out his fingers like claws to explain, while his eyelashes met over his eyes—“she is not what man has made of your sex; and she is brave of heart.”
“Can you possibly tell what such a child can be?” questioned Georgiana, almost irritably.
Marini did not reply to her.
“A face to find a home in!—eh, Mertyr?”
“Let’s discover where that face has found a home,” said Merthyr. “She is a very plain and unpretending person, if people will not insist upon her being more. This morbid admiration of heroines puts a trifle too much weight upon their shoulders, does it not?”
Georgiana knew that to call Emilia ‘child’ was to wound the most sensitive nerve in Merthyr’s system, if he loved her, and she had determined to try harshly whether he did. Nevertheless, though the expression succeeded, and was designedly cruel, she could not forgive the insincerity of his last speech; craving in truth for confidence as her smallest claim on him now. So, at all the consultations, she acquiesced in any scheme that was proposed; the advertizings and the use of detectives; the communication with Emilia’s mother and father; and the callings at suburban concert-rooms. Sir Purcell Barrett frequently called to assist in the discovery. At first he led them to suspect Mr. Pericles; but a trusty Italian playing spy upon that gentleman soon cleared him, and they were more in the dark than ever. It was only when at last Georgiana heard Merthyr, the picture of polished self-possession, giving way to a burst of disappointment in the room before them all: “Are we sure that she lives?” he cried:—then Georgiana, looking at the firelight over her joined fingers, said:—
“But, have you forgotten the serviceable brigade you have in your organ-boys, Marini? If Emilia sees one, be sure she will speak to him.”
“Have I not said she is a General?” Marini pointed at Georgiana with a gleam of his dark eyes, and Merthyr squeezed his sister’s hand, thanking her; by which he gave her one whole night of remorse, because she had not spoken earlier.
“My voice! I have my voice!”